Temporal range: Late Holocene
Aaz - Copia.jpg
An artist's illustration of Dinornis robustus
Conservation status
Extinct  (1280)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Superorder: Paleognathae
Order: Dinornithiformes
Family: Dinornithidae
Genus: Dinornis
Owen, 1846
Referred species
  • Dinornis novaezealandiae (Owen 1843) (North Island giant moa)
  • Dinornis robustus (Owen, 1846) Bunce et al. 2003) (South Island giant moa)
  • Dinoris (lapsus)
  • Megalornis Owen, 1843 non Gray, 1841: preoccupied, nomen nudum
  • Moa Reichenbach, 1850
  • Movia Reichenbach, 1850
  • Owenia Gray, 1855
  • Palapteryx Owen, 1851
  • Tylopteryx Hutton, 1891

Dinornis (the Moa) were giant birds that lived in New Zealand that became extinct at the end of the 18th century. We know of 15 species, among which are the largest: Dinornis robustus and Dinornis novaezelandiae. These two species reached a height of 3.5 m and weighed about 250 lbs. It did not have wings, and even the rudiments. It ate leaves, shoots and fruits. It is assumed that the moa was hunted to extinction by aboriginal Maori, for whom they were easy prey.

Dinornis may have been the tallest bird that ever lived, with the females of the largest species standing 3.6 m (12 ft) tall, and one of the most massive, weighing 230–240 kg (510–530 lb) or 278 kg (610 lb) in various estimates. Feather remains are reddish brown and hair-like, and apparently covered most of the body except the lower legs and most of the head (plus a small portion of the neck below the head). The feet were large and powerful, and the birds had a long neck that allowed them to reach tall vegetation. In relation to its body, the head was small, with a pointed, short, flat and somewhat curved beak.

The giant moa, along with other moa genera, were wiped out by human colonists who hunted it for food. All taxa in this genus were extinct by 1500 in New Zealand.
Dinornis robustus
It is reliably known that the Māori still hunted them at the beginning of the fifteenth century, driving them into pits and robbing their nests. Although some birds became extinct due to farming, for which the forests were cut and burned down and the ground was turned into arable land, the giant moa had been extinct for 300 years prior to the arrival of European settlers.


Some People Said The Moa Is Still Alive With A Possible Population Being Small, But People Have Not Yet Found Evidence To Prove This.

Popular CultureEdit

  • Dinornis the Giant Moa was first Featured in David Attenborough's Documentary The Living Planet "Worlds Apart" as a Skeleton.
  • Dinornis the Giant Moa featured in 2 Nissan Cup Noodle commercials & was animated by the Chiodo Bros.
  • Dinornis the Giant Moa also featured in an episode by BBC called Monsters We Met AKA Land of lost Monsters.
  • It was also featured in Discovery Channel's Wild Discovery "what killed the Mega Beasts".
  • It appeared in another David Attenborough documentary An Hour & a half film called Natural History Museum Alive.
  • It makes a minor appearance in Discovery Channel's Mutant Planet aka Planet Evolution episode "New Zealand" where it was seen as a ghost looking at the egg of its small cousin the kiwi bird & later eating leaves.
  • Both Skeletal remains &'Life sized replicas of the Giant Moas are featured in Wild New Zealand by National Geographic or by BBC.


New Zealand's Giant Bird Monsters Wild New Zealand

New Zealand's Giant Bird Monsters Wild New Zealand

The Moa on National Geographic Wild.